Brian Stewart speaking on the subject of the management of local council services on Wednesday night in the Community Centre:
"There’s a bit of a pattern here, not just in this community council but also in the other discussions in the other communtiy councils about the way in which services are being delivered in and around Nairn. From mowers flattening the gravestones in the cemetery to the issue that Mike Henderson pursued about council workers working at weekends to clear up the beach, to problems of contractors who dumped all over the flower beds which people had taken a lot of time and voluntary effort to plant opposite the West End garage and that area. And the common thread moving through this is that most of this seems to have emerged since the reorganisation and/or contracting out of council services. Either TEC services type work whether it is maintenance or grass cutting or cemeteries or whatever is managed remotely by some official in Kinguisse or some official in Inverness or it’s left to private contractors or let out to private contractors. The point, the general theme about this, is that what seems to be lacking is competent supervision, and the irony is that the more stuff is let out at arm’s length, at a distance, if money is tight and the work is contracted out supervision becomes more not less important. The pattern seems to be that the services are being reduced and the level of supervision and local scrutiny of how it is being performed is diminishing and that’s largely because the people doing the supervising are not here."
There was some discussion then of the centralised nature of services and the paradox created by the contracting out system: being that although front line staff had been paid off while the council has retained the supervisory and management staff in Glenurquhart Road. Ritichie Cunningham, Indepependent candidate in the forthcoming election and rector of Inverness High School gave an example that he himself had come across in his professional life:
"Well often they don't actually have the budgets, the budgets are held by other services. For example, as a head teacher I have a budget for clearing the car parks. I can't use TEC services anymore. I have to use one of their approved contractors."